OPERATION PITCHFORK NABS 16 NORTH SHORE GANG MEMBERS
Boston, Mass. - A year-long investigation, dubbed “Operation Pitchfork” culminated today with charges against 16 members and associates of several North Shore street gangs.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Richard DesLauriers, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Eugenio A. Marquez, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Boston Field Division; Steven W. Derr, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in New England; Massachusetts State Police Colonel Marian J. McGovern; Essex County Sheriff Frank G. Cousins; Middlesex Sheriff James V. DiPaola; Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro; and Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero today announced that 11 members of the Latin Gangsta Disciples (LGD), the Immortal Outlaws, the Latin Kings, and Trinatario street gangs were arrested on federal and state drug and firearm charges.
Ten indictments have been unsealed in U.S. District Court charging a total of 12 members and associates of these street gangs with various federal drug and firearm offenses. In addition, four defendants were charged by the Essex County District Attorney’s Office with state drug and gun crimes.
“The coordination of local, state, and federal resources in support of anti-gang strategies - prevention, intervention, and enforcement is critical,” said U.S. Attorney Ortiz. “It is only through the efforts of a wide assortment of law enforcement officials can an operation like this successfully take very dangerous people and weapons out of our neighborhoods.”
"Where there are gangs, there are drugs and guns resulting in violence, which has a devastating impact on the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” said Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett. “These arrests should send a loud and clear message to gang members that we are coming hard after them, and our cooperative efforts will be unceasing.”
A detention affidavit filed with the Court alleges that all of these individuals are leaders, members, or significant associates of the LGD, Immortal Outlaws, Latin Kings, and Trinatario street gangs. These gangs have a long history of involvement in a variety of illegal activities, including drug and firearm trafficking. During the investigation, the FBI’s North Shore Gang Task Force purchased four firearms, including an AK 47 with 30 rounds of ammunition, a pistol-grip shotgun with over 70 rounds of ammunition, and two handguns. The Task Force also seized crack cocaine, cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone from the defendants.
The defendants charged out of the Operation are as follows:
Curtis Hester, a/k/a “CJ”, 25, of Lawrence, and Timothy Moynihan, 35, of Haverhill, are charged with conspiracy to distribute at least five grams of cocaine base and distribution of at least five grams of cocaine base.
Omar Dones, a/k/a “Polo”, 28, of Lawrence, (currently in state custody in Middleton), is charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine base, distribution of cocaine base, and being felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Frank Reyes, a/k/a “P”, 25, of Lawrence, is charged with distribution of at least five grams of cocaine base and distribution of cocaine.
Wilberto Colon, a/k/a “Bebe”, 36, of Lawrence, is charged with distribution of oxycodone.
Luis Marquez, 53, of Lawrence, is charged with distribution of heroin.
Luis Colon, a/k/a “Goldo”, 32, of Haverhill, is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Alexis Agramonte, a/k/a “Barakas”, 30, of Lawrence, is charged with possession with intent to distribute heroin.
Angel Marquez, a/k/a “Doom”, 32, of Tewksbury, is charged with conspiracy to distribute at least five grams of cocaine base, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine base.
Hakeem Hinton-Fultz, 25, and Orlando Ledesma, a/k/a “Oli”, 47, both of Haverhill, are charged with conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and possession with intent to distribute cocaine.
Carlos Rodriguez, 40, of Lawrence, is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Rodriguez, Luis Marquez, and Wilberto Colon have previously been convicted of federal drug trafficking offenses.
If convicted, the maximum sentence for distribution of at least five grams of crack cocaine is a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of five years with up to 40 years in prison and a two million dollar fine. The maximum sentence for distribution of cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone, is 20 years in prison and a one million dollar fine. The maximum sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm is 10 years in prison.
The Essex District Attorney’s Office filed state drug and gun charges against Jason Janelle, Omar Espada, Anibal Ortiz, and Luis Torres, all of whom were arrested this morning.
Of the 12 federal defendants, seven were arrested this morning, one is in custody on state charges and four others are fugitives.
"The completion of this investigation demonstrates the continuing long-term commitment by the FBI and its law enforcement partners to work cooperatively to address the scourge of gang violence in Massachusetts," said FBI SAC DesLauries. "Ultimately, this investigation, during which we all shared information and investigative resources, will pay high dividends to Lawrence, Lowell, Methuen and Haverhill in the form of safer streets and neighborhoods."
The case was investigated by the North Shore HIDTA Gang Task Force, a New England HIDTA and FBI Safe Streets initiative, which consists of the FBI, the ATF, the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit, the Essex and Middlesex County Sheriff’s Departments, and the Haverhill, Metheun, and Lawrence Police Departments. The Task Force received additional assistance in this investigation from the Lowell Police Department and the Essex County Drug Task Force.
The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Peter Levitt and Christopher Pohl assigned to Ortiz’s Organized Crime Strike Force Unit. The state cases are being prosecuted by assistant district attorneys in the Essex District Attorney's Office.
The charges contained in the indictment are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
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